Pokemon GO Players Are Still Making A Mess Of Rhodes

Image: Kotaku

Ever since Pokemon GO kicked off, the city of Rhodes, Sydney, has been a hotspot for Pokemon and their trainers. It hasn't been quite so popular with the area's residents though, who at one point resorted to water bombing players.

The game's popularity hasn't diminished in the past week, and neither has the flurry of activity around Rhodes. So the council responsible for the area has gotten involved, petitioning developers Niantic to have two of the three most trafficked spots in the site removed.

Gary Sawyer, the general manager of City of Canada Bay Council, told Domain that the influx of players had created several practical issues for local government. According to the council, emergency services found it difficult to reach an apartment fire because of traffic congestion.

"There have been a number of concerning instances already including an emergency services vehicle having difficulty reaching an apartment fire due to traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and reports of motorcycles using cycle and footpaths to get around traffic congestion," Sawyer said.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) said that they were able to reach a cooking fire in a unit on Rhodes' Mary St, although that the area was "heavily congested" with cars and people. That contradicts details on an image begun circulating online, however, where residents are encouraged to petition Niantic to remove two Pokestops in the local area by saying the influx of traffic had blocked a fire truck from reaching "its destination".

Videos have been circulating on Facebook and YouTube showing hundreds of avid trainers circulating outside apartment blocks searching for rare Pokemon. Trainers can be seen standing in the middle of the street, to the point where a police car lightly beeps its horn to remind people to get off the street.

A video shot from an apartment block also shows the level of congestion, with traffic on a two-way street reduced to a crawl.

Another video shows a police officer interacting with a driver allegedly blocking a driveway, while hundreds can be seen in the background walking on the sidewalk and the streets:

Perhaps the most powerful image is a shot of Peg Paterson Park, showing the impact of the game's popularity on the state of the park.

A petition has also been started asking for the council to "temporarily close Peg Paterson Park". "After suffering excessive noise pollution, litter, traffic, abusive and dangerous behavior morning, noon and well into the night, the residents of Rhodes demand this stops now," the petition reads.

A nearby chess set has also been damaged:

I reached out to Fire and Rescue NSW about whether other instances had occurred where Pokemon GO players had impeded their work. In a comment over email, they said "we are not aware of any other instances involving Pokemon GO sites".

"Pedestrian and traffic control are issues for local councils and police and FRNSW is not in a position to comment further," the department added. The City of Canada Bay Council was also contacted for comment, but did not respond by the time of publication.


Comments

    All they need to do is contact niantic and get them to remove the Pokestops and Gyms from the area.

      They already have....Niantic is slow though

        A bit unfair. I wouldn't say Niantic were really slow - just swamped, especially considering the size of their team, and the scale of this damn game

    Absolutely disgusting. You can play Pokemon Go without destroying the area that others live in.

      That depends though. Host a music festival and it doesn't matter how peaceful and relaxed it is it's going to get destroyed. That park is in a similar position. The sheer volume of people walking there destroyed the ground. It doesn't take as much as you'd expect to wear a dirt path into a field.
      In a crowded area it's often next to impossible to clean up your mess. If you drop a can of coke in a crowd the act of physically reaching down and picking it up can be really hard. Especially if the crowd is moving like on a busy street. So the coke gets dragged around on everyone's feet, the can gets kicked around by people who don't see it and the whole thing becomes a huge mess. I'd imagine that's how the chess set went. Someone knocks a piece down and nobody has the space to pick it up until after the whole set is a mess beyond repair.

      I'm not saying it's ok to be a jerk or defending the people who are clearly in the wrong here, if it's like this either go somewhere else or go home, but it's harder than it looks to avoid this when you're either packing in a really dense crowd or experiencing a lot of traffic.

        Music festivals are at pre-approved locations and require extensive planning to get approval from the local council so that crowds don't interfere with the locals.

        In this situation it's been dropped on the community overnight. I get that grass turns to mud from walking on it but destroying local equipment like that chess set, standing in the middle of the road with cars trying to get past and parking in people's drive ways and refusing to move are all entirely unnecessary and a result of people being idiots rather than being a crowd.

        There's a right way and a wrong way for crowds to act while catching pokemon...this is the wrong way.

          I get that. Trust me I live in the middle of the city so I know how obnoxious people can be. It's certainly not a good thing. I just think it's easy to see this as self absorbed people destroying stuff and being disruptive without a care in the world when it's sort of unavoidable when you bounce a thousand random people off each other in a relatively small space.
          Also they knocked the chess set over. Judging by the sand splatter the pawn was the only casualty. That's less than ideal but is it really as awful as it looks? Are these people really the monsters they appear to be or are they just a ton of individuals who can't see the group as a whole from a balcony view or see the consequences of their actions via a before and after pic set?

          Last edited 25/07/16 3:47 pm

      No actual evidence of any destruction, just random claims nobody has evidence of. Just annoyed residents because they don't want people near their units. Sounds like your having a bit of those hysterical "why won't somebody think of the children?!?" Moments of illogical bias feelings.

        Really? You don't think the evidence of the trampled grass and littering all around it is evidence enough?

          trampled grass? Like people walking over grass? OH NO.

            No it's a quagmire. There's no grass left, just a muddy mess. They've wrecked the local park and even if kids who live in the area wanted to play on the equipment or kick a ball around they can't do that anymore. A real shame if you ask me.

          When the news of this craze first broke a week or so ago, there were plenty of people who were advocates of the rights of massing of individuals to play pokemon go at stupid o clock over the rights of people in nearby houses to sleep. When pointed out what a mess and chaos being made they just adopted a contrarian, denialist approach and just refuted any video, photographic and anecdotal evidence provided. When pressed however they'll say "oh I won't do it and I don't approve of making a mess myself" so that makes it okay! Lol.

          You'll never be able to convince them otherwise, so that should give you a clue on what type of character they are.

            Yeah I know mate, I got shouted down by a bunch of them for being "a whiny old fuck." I just like to sleep :P

        Did you watch the vids. Luckily a motorist didn't snap and mow them down.

          Lucky someone didn't commit murder?

            There's some gutless pathetic angry drivers out there who think they are the centre of the universe that would snap at less than that.

            Seriously though Pokemon Go is great but flooding out on to the road is dangerous and stupid.
            If I saw that many people there I'd come back later.

        Dude there's heaps of evidence of destruction. It's all over Facebook.

    Surely the answer to congestion in three places is to request the addition of more places people can go, or at worst, relocating those points off of main through-roads? Removing two popular points will merely concentrate the issue at the remaining location, while adding a bunch of places in lower-traffic areas would more evenly distribute players and the overall congestion would be more manageable.

      It's a cluster of 3 pokestops...probably the best spot in the area. Removing 2 of them will make it just another single stop location, nothing special.

    Not really sure why this area attracts so much attention, yes there are 3 overlapping pokestops, but there are many of these around elsewhere too. There are no unique or special pokemon that only spawn at Rhodes.

      Every area seems to have some form of local gathering hub. In my area its by a lake down the road where it doesn't bother anyone. Rhodes must be the region of Sydney's area.

        I feel like this particular spot has been blown out of proportion due to word of mouth though. I live a 10min walk from this park, however I know of at least 2 more locations that are nearby with overlapping stops and you generally catch the same pokemon.

          I read on reddit that particular spot was known for having mostly rare pokemon, rarely spawns zubats etc. Knowing now from the code that lures spawn rarer pokemon when there's more trainers in range this makes sense.

          Would have started on a smaller scale, word of mouth said it was a good spot for 3 lures. As more people gather rarer pokemon spawn and so more people gather....

          Well I have been playing with Pokevision, checking out different areas and places around the world, to see what they get.
          I have also been checking out the area around my house for the past few days, to get an idea of any patterns in the game (if any)

          What I've noticed is that certain Pokemon appear in predetermined spots, while others appear randomly, this applies for common through rares.
          For example, I am always seeing Drowzee's appearing on my nearby list, and now I see they spawn periodically at a nearby park, along with two Duduos and a Bellwhatever.
          Meanwhile, Evee's, starter pokemon and other assorted appear randomly around the area.

          Anyway, chances are the area has rare pokemon

      You see it with online games, particularly MMORPGs, all the time. Spots where for one reason or another people seem to gravitate towards. Sometimes it'll be logical, there's a quest that starts there or the rare monster there has an unusually high spawn rate. Sometimes it's just a natural bottleneck. Hell, sometimes it's just that a large group of players formed there and other players assumed there must be something good there.
      In this case I'd say it's a combination of all of the above. Word of mouth about a good location that just happens to be within 15 minutes of several clusters of players. I'm a bit sick of hearing about Pokemon GO but it's interesting to see MMORPG player reactions in the physical world.

      It's a cascade effect. Let me explain:
      1: Players find an easily accessible area with overlapping pokestops and set down lures.
      2: Place becomes known as a lure hub.
      3: The more players show, the rarer the pokemon that can spawn (as lures can spawn pokemon not in that region).
      4: Place gains infamy for rare pokemon, which in turn leads to more people.
      5: Repeat from step 3.

        So I guess the real fix is to change the game mechanic that encourages such high levels of congregation. Fixes like removing pokestops might make the Rhodes residents happy, but just end up moving the problem elsewhere.

          To be fair. I feel another two weeks and it will mostly be over. But yeah niantic are happy to remove points, they did in ingress all the time, just even in ingress(with like 1% of the player numbers) it could take a few months.

          or make the fix the other way, the more people that's there, the more chance zubats will show up and less chance for rares, they are meant to be rare right? not so rare if couple hundreds of them were caught it in 5 minutes.

            It would make sense. As if a rare pokemon shows up in a populated area. In the games and anime, they always show up in hard to reach, isolated areas to just a few people.

      local demographic? Affluent big phone and tech users out there.

    This is sad.. you hear of other parks that have said that Pokemon players have been cleaning the parks up.

    An animal welfare centre was asking Pokemon players to walk their dogs in the park... their donations and adoptions went up.

    And in Sydney... a park got totalled well good job playing nice. This is why we cant have nice things like a lure farm or childrens playgrounds.

    Am I still an old wowser for thinking this has gotten out of hand for the people that live in the area? That would suck sooo much if you lived nearby :(

      Unless you were an avid Pokemon Go player. In which case, living nearby would be like a blessing from the Gods.

      Give it some weeks, and interest will die down. As soon as most players reach the high levels, and have captured all their rare pokemon, there won't be any incentive to go visit Rhodes any more.

        You'd hope not but they're often capturing lots of pokemon to breed higher level ones :/ I think you're right though, here's hoping it'll calm down soon.

      Not at all, I live in the area, walking distance from the park in question and Ive been down there to see what the fuss is about. I completely feel sorry for the residents of the apartment blocks surrounding the park, the noise level (even with people being fairly well behaved) was still like a busy restaurant as people chatted away, this would carry on to all hours of the night and it would personally drive me nuts if I lived there.

        I'm really hoping this is an isolated incident. In Melbourne I haven't seen anything like it so far, so here's hoping it's just an isolated incident :)

        Same, that's my video featured. As soon as I saw the Charizard on pokevision, I grabbed my camera, sprinted downstairs and caught the horde inrush. I knew I needed to capture the event as it happened to show the actual scale of what is happening, especially the noise, and behaviour not shown in still images. A gyarados spawned the other day and people knocked down the fence to the construction site to get to it quicker.

        It has died down a little bit, but I was woken up at 11 pm last night by the same behaviour. I complained to the council about the rubbish on the first weekend and they responded by cleaning the park, but now it's just mud and the barricades do nothing to keep adults off the play equipment. People also like to pretend that medium density housing doesn't already have congestion issues, and the additional traffic just has made the area difficult to tolerate, so much honking.

          I went for a walk along the river last weekend and had noticed the construction fence had been pushed aside (and partially in the river itself).

          I'm thankful I live across the river in Wentworth Point and don't get the traffic issues, hopeful the devs can help out with removing a pokestop or two and / or the council can find a solution in the short term.

    Its like people forget how easy it is to not drop shit everywhere and walk 10m to a rubbish bin. if you litter, youre a fucking douchebag.

    What is so special about that street/area that warrants so many people? Australia has plenty of pokestops in the city doesn't it...? (Here in Tokyo we have tons, a friend living in the countryside only has two on the whole map from her house lol)

    Last edited 27/07/16 11:45 am

    The chess set was damaged by two boys. I saw them doing it as their mom watched on.

    when filling out your census don't forget to put Pokémon down as your religion. Gotta beat these Jedi tools

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